Look at California

 

The rollin hills seem to do something for you
It seems there meant to be looked on by you
And when the sunshine is doing it’s thing
Then you know that all you see is true
Every day every night the same old groovy feelin
People that live a lot love a lot
And everything there is so good

Look at California
Look at California
“Look at California” – Maze

Golden Hills of Napa Valley
Golden Hills of Napa Valley

 

I visited San Francisco nearly twelve years ago when I went to Oakland for a business trip. I stayed with my uncle for a day and he drove me around the city.  I saw more in that evening (Chinatown, Pier39, Financial District, Twin Peaks, etc.) than most people see in several days.  We capped the evening at a great seafood restaurant.  I regretted not staying longer and vowed to return soon. At the time, he was a single guy in his 40’s. Twelve years later Jordyn and I visited him. He’s now married to Maria with three young boys (five year-old Kairo and two-year-old twins Taj & Mahal).

Jordyn, Aunt Maria, & Uncle Ricky with Taj & Mahal
Jordyn, Aunt Maria, & Uncle Ricky with Taj & Mahal

 

After a day of traveling, my uncle, Allen (my uncle’s friend), and I headed to the Golden Gate Bridge and some other locations to grab some photos. We parked near the GG Visitors Center and began walking towards the bridge’s first tower. The ground underneath quickly disappeared and we were hundreds of feet in the air. This is when I had to confront a glaring reality. I have a fear of heights!! Underneath this bridge the frigid bay waters create waves crashing violently into rocks and there are people surfing in this water. WHAT THE…??? Also, if cold water with rocks jutting out doesn’t bother you, there are sharks in the bay as well.

Despite all that, once the fog begins to clear, you get a spectacular shot of the GGB.

Golden Gate Bridge from a Fort Point overlook
Golden Gate Bridge from a Fort Point overlook

I created a list of photographic spots and the Palace of Fine Arts was priority. It’s a replica of the ancient ruins.  Although, I didn’t get to shoot it at night, it’s still a beautiful landmark.

Palace of Fine Arts
Palace of Fine Arts

 

We spent the remainder of the day meeting Uncle Ricky’s friends and meeting his fellow Cape Verdeans. One of his friends lives in Napa Valley. Spectacular view of the various vineyards along the highway made it irresistible to pass.  He pulled over so I could grab this close-up.  I learned wine grapes are smaller and more bitter than the ones we eat.  The larger table grapes we eat contain too much sugar for wine.

 

Grapes from a Napa Valley vineyard
Grapes from a Napa Valley vineyard

 

After a weekend of hanging with friends and family, Jordyn and I headed to the amusement park, Great America in Santa Clara.

Franklin & Jordyn
Franklin & Jordyn

 

I took her to the GG Bridge so she could see it as well. She was less than impressed but she waited patiently for me to grab all my shots.  We headed to the top of Marin Headlines for a panoramic view of the city.  One could spend an entire day photographing this bridge.  There are several overlooks on both ends of the bridge.  The best images are on the south side during sunrise and the north side during sunset.

City View from Marin Headlands

Tuesday was ur last full day in the city.  I suggested we visit various spots. I wanted to see the painted ladies.

The Painted Ladies with the San Francisco Skyline
The Painted Ladies with the San Francisco Skyline

 

On our way, we went to Twin Peaks for another beautiful view of the city.

A View from Twin Peaks
A View from Twin Peaks

 

Lastly, we visited the popular Pier 39/Fisher’s Wharf area.   It’s crowded with tourists watching the sea lions and shopping at the various stores.  However, we happened to see Dr. Cornel West and we grabbed a photo with him.

J and I visited the Exploritorium based on our uncle’s recommendation. She actually enjoyed herself and we concluded the day spending time with our family before the next day’s departure.

Jordyn, Dr. Cornel West, and I on the Pier
Jordyn, Dr. Cornel West, and I on the Pier

 

My uncle and I can give each other a hard time when we’re together.  However, he’s the most brilliant individual I know.  He’s a professor and former Chair at San Francisco State University’s Design and Industry Department.  He possess a wealth of knowledge and experience.  I grew up idolizing him because he traveled the world and he always sent us postcards from each location.  From his example, I learned I could go anywhere and be anything.  He lived in Kenya, Paris and other locations before setting up residency in San Francisco.  His experiences gives him a unique perspective on various topics regarding society and the issues facing Black America.  He was my role model and I developed my passion for travel because of him.

He’s NOT a photographer but, his eye for art and design compels him to offer many unsolicited suggestions on how I should take a picture :-).  With that said, I greatly appreciate my Cali family sharing their home with Jordyn and I.

I created a photo album during my trip.  However, I left too early and I still have many places, people, and things to photograph in Cali.  I had to remember I was there to show my daughter the West Coast and spend time with family.  This was not a photographic safari.  Therefore, I look forward to my return to the “Rollin’ Hills” of California.

-Roger

Share
Drawing with Light



The word “Photography” comes from the Greek “phos” which is light and “graphê” which is drawing.  Just as we draw pictures with pencils, crayons, and brushes, onto paper or a canvas, photographs are drawn with light onto the camera film or digital sensor. 

Any photo needs light.  You can have on the best outfit with the most dazzling jewelry, see the most beautiful landscape, or witness the most action-packed sporting event.  If your light is not good, you might as well put away the camera because no one will see the image.  Therefore, we need a good light source (a camera flash, the sun, studio strobes, etc.).  The common trait of the previous light sources is they are stationary while the photo is captured. 

Our typical photos are taken faster than the blink of an eye.  Therefore, there isn’t much time for anything to move.  However, what about photos that require a slow shutter speed?  Try taking a picture in a dark room without a flash.  The person or image will be blurry because of camera shake or he/she moved.  We often discount these images as a mistake or bad photos.
  However, what happens when this is done on purpose?  What if we want to photograph the light moving?  We have seen many examples of light moving in an image.  Photos showing streams of light from car headlights or taillights are common examples.

Deborah and Jordyn noticed a small fair near our neighborhood during their excursion into the nearby town centre (we spell it “re” in the UK).  Jordyn was excited to visit and experience the many rides.  However, I was eager to photograph the rides during twilight to capture the moving light patterns with the background of the cobalt blue sky.  Since twilight only lasts for 10-15 minutes.  I would have to work quickly.

Two of the images are taken without any movement.  They are placed next to the ones with movement to show the difference. However, most of them captured diverge from the normal shots one would take.   I captured several rides as they twirled in the night sky.  The blurry subjects represent the light forming colorful patterns more interesting than if I took the shots at a normal speed.  The moving lights were the paintbrushes drawing the picture.  I just provided the canvas.

-Roger


Share